Why Join a Union? Because They Work!

Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 28 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts.

A labor union is an organization that acts as an intermediary between its members and the business that employ them. Labor unions give workers the power to negotiate for more favorable working conditions and other benefits through collective bargaining. Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 28 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts.

Labor unions give workers the power to negotiate for more favorable working conditions and other benefits through collective bargaining.

The Union Advantage: In 2015, union members had weekly earnings that were 27% HIGHER than non-unionized workers. That's $980 weekly compared to $776 for non-union workers in the U.S. (From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor)

The Union Difference

  • Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 28 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts.
  • While only 19 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 78 percent of union workers do.
  • More than 84 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 64 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.
  • Unions help bring workers out of poverty and into the middle class. In fact, in states where workers don’t have union rights, workers’ incomes are lower.

Today, unions are more important to working people than ever.…Changing technologies are revolutionizing many types of work. Yet workers still require united strength to assure themselves of individual opportunity, dignity, and advancement.

What happens when you deserve a raise — or need a day off to take care of an unexpected emergency — or your employer has sold the company… or new equipment takes over your job … or working conditions on the job endanger your health?

It’s usually impossible, and always difficult, for an individual worker to go one-on-one with an employer when it’s necessary to protect your livelihood. The president of the company may not even be located in your community. Your supervisor knows you need to work — and the supervisor has the final word. One person’s voice just isn’t strong or loud enough to influence a large, impersonal organization.

Unions provide the responsible, united voice, which gives millions of wage and salary earners their proper share of participation in American industrial democracy.

Since the end of the 18th Century, American working people have joined together in democratic unions to exercise a voice in their own lives and futures, in a way that individual wage earners cannot. Union members elect their own officers, determine their own goals, set their own dues, and choose the rules by which their unions operate for the common good.

Unions provide the responsible, united voice, which gives millions of wage and salary earners their proper share of participation in American industrial democracy.

Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining is the heart and soul of the labor union. Collective bargaining occurs when a group of people, such as the workforce at a company, bands together to increase its negotiating power. For instance, a single worker might feel that a certain new safety measure should be implemented in his factory, but he might have limited power to get the company to install the new measure. If the entire workforce is made aware of the need for the new measure and bands together to pressure the company to install it, there is a much greater chance that the company will comply. Labor unions band workers together, allowing the voices of individual workers to be heard and possibly made into a goal of the union. Unionized workers typically elect representatives to bring concerns to the union’s attention.

Higher Wages

One of the top benefits of being a union worker is that you enjoy a better wage as compared to your non-union counterparts. Union workers get about 20 percent more in terms of wages (not including benefits) compared to others in similar jobs that aren’t supported by a union. Union workers are also more likely to enjoy consistent pay raises on a regular basis. This is due to collective bargaining between the union (on behalf of the employees) and the employer that results in an agreement setting out clear terms regarding pay and wages. With a non-union job, the employer can set the wage without any formal bargaining process or input from the employee.

Union workers get about 20 percent more in terms of wages (not including benefits) compared to others in similar jobs that aren’t supported by a union. Union workers are also more likely to enjoy consistent pay raises on a regular basis.

Better Benefits

On average, union workers are more likely to enjoy better benefits compared to non-union employees. That includes health, retirement accounts, and paid sick leave. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 77 percent of union workers get pensions (guaranteed continued payments) after they retire from the job, compared to only 20 percent of non-union workers. Again, union representatives work out these details as a part of the collective bargaining agreement with the employer.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 77 percent of union workers get pensions (guaranteed continued payments) after they retire from the job, compared to only 20 percent of non-union workers.

Your Representative

One other key benefit of working as a union employee is that union representatives work on your behalf if you have a personal issue with the employer. Non-union employees have to contact the company’s human resources department for assistance, but it’s important to keep in mind that the department is part of the company. Meeting with a boss and the employer’s HR representative can make an employee with a gripe feel outnumbered or vulnerable. A union representative will come into a meeting between you and the employer to help resolve the issue.

WHAT UNION MEMBERS WANT AND HOW THEY GET IT

America’s union members want the things all Americans have always wanted. They want peaceful, dignified, productive lives. They want the opportunity to improve themselves and their families. And they want these things for all Americans.

Unions foster their members’ interests on the job through collective bargaining with management, in the exercise of industrial democracy. Today, there are about 150,000 collective bargaining agreements across the United States. Ninety-eight percent were arrived at through mutual agreement of workers and employers. Strikes get a lot of public attention, but fair contracts — not strikes — are what workers want. They reluctantly exercise their democratic right to withhold their labor only when there is no other way to reach an agreement.

Strikes get a lot of public attention, but fair contracts — not strikes — are what workers want.

MODERN TIMES, MODERN UNIONS

Unions are an established part of American society because they have grown up with America. As business and industry expanded from local to national and multinational conglomerate enterprises, local union joined together to form national and (when they have members in Canada) international organizations.

Today, unions are more important to working people than ever. Large nationally and internationally minded business enterprises and complex governmental structures make decisions in a functional world far from that in which their employees live. Changing technologies are revolutionizing many types of work. Yet workers still require united strength to assure themselves of individual opportunity, dignity, and advancement.

Workers in union pool their strength and resources to gain the professional and technical skills they need for collective bargaining, the means and support to deal with nationwide and worldwide employers, and the ability to meet changing conditions with informed foresight.

Workers in union pool their strength and resources to gain the professional and technical skills they need for collective bargaining, the means and support to deal with nationwide and worldwide employers, and the ability to meet changing conditions with informed foresight.

Millions of Americans in public and private employment — in construction, transportation, finance, industry, agriculture, education, commerce, the professions and the services — testify tot the benefits of union membership. Today, some 13.1 million working people belong to 89 national and international unions in the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

How Unions Help Union and Non-Union Workers

According to a study done by the Economic Policy Institute, “Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers.” See the full report here.

“Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers.”

UNIONS AND THE FUTURE

Union members are concerned about the future. They want to live in healthy, pleasant communities. They want to pass on a strong, prosperous nation to their children. Their unions foster these interests also. Unions are leading champions of good government, good schools, the protection of individual rights and the expansion of individual opportunities for all Americans.

If you hold a job, or are about to leave school for work, these are all things for you to think about, too.

For more information, please fill out the Contact Us form.

Think about your opportunity to join a union. For your own sake.

JOIN US!

Sources:
1. AFL-CIO, Publication No. 164
2. UWUA Constitution